Frederick I of Prussia

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Sophia Charlotte of Hanover Sophia Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Frederick I (German: Friedrich I.) (11 July 1657 – 25 February 1713), of the Hohenzollern dynasty, was (as Frederick III) Elector of Brandenburg (1688–1713) and Duke of Prussia in personal union (Brandenburg-Prussia). The latter function he upgraded to royalty, becoming the first King in Prussia (1701–1713). From 1707 he was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel (German: Fürstentum Neuenburg). He was also the grandfather of Frederick the Great.

Contents

Biography

Family

Born in Königsberg, he was the third son of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg by his father's first marriage to Louise Henriette of Orange-Nassau, eldest daughter of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. His maternal cousin was King William III of England. Upon the death of his father on 29 April 1688, Frederick became Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg.

King in Prussia

The Hohenzollern state was then known as Brandenburg-Prussia, as the family's main possessions were the Margraviate of Brandenburg within the Holy Roman Empire and the Duchy of Prussia outside of the Empire. Although he was the Margrave and Prince-elector of Brandenburg and the Duke of Prussia, Frederick desired the more prestigious title of king. However, according to Germanic law at that time, no kingdoms could exist within the Holy Roman Empire, with the exception of the Kingdom of Bohemia.

Leopold I, Archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor, was convinced by Frederick to allow Prussia to be ruled as a kingdom. This agreement was ostensibly given in exchange for an alliance against King Louis XIV of France in the War of the Spanish Succession. Frederick's argument was that Prussia had never belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and therefore there was no legal or political barrier to prevent the Elector of Brandenburg from being King in Prussia. Frederick was aided in the negotiations by Charles Ancillon.

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